JULI: "The first day I met Bryce Loski, I flipped. It was those eyes. Something in those dazzling eyes. . ."
BRYCE: "It was the beginning of more than half a decade of strategic avoidance and social discomfort. All I ever wanted was for Juli Baker to leave me alone."
When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it's love. Bryce isn't so sure. Beginning that day, and for the next six years, Bryce does everything he can to keep his wannabe girlfriend at arm's length. . . which isn't easy since they go to the same school and live across the street from each other. The whole time, Juli never gives up on Bryce, even though he works hard to keep away from her. But by eighth grade, Juli finally thinks maybe she was wrong about him, and he's not so great after all. It's just about the same time Bryce starts to think maybe he was wrong about her, too. But is he too late?
This is the story of the new movie, Flipped (rated PG), based on the book by Wendelin Van Draanen, (which I LOVED!). The author gave her blessing for the movie, and it stays very close to the book except for one major thing: the time period was changed to the 1960s. That explains their clothes.
The wardrobe wasn’t popular as far as most of the young cast was concerned, a sentiment best expressed by Callan McAuliffe (who plays Bryce). "They wore funny-looking clothes that were really uncomfortable. The cars were great, in particular, the vintage fire truck. In fact, everything looked really cool. . . except the clothes."
But Flipped is not about clothes or who you are on the outside. It's about seeing people for who they really are on the inside. This was Van Draanen's primary theme for the book, which borrows not only from her own early experiences but from years spent as a school teacher observing her students. "I'd see girls crushing on boys because they were just so cute and I'd want to take them aside and say, 'Honey, he is so not worth it!' And with the guys, I'd want to tell them, 'She may be hot, but that's all she's got,'" the author reveals. "It takes a while in life to learn the skill of seeing beyond who's cute or popular. So I wrote Flipped as a way of talking to kids and trying to illustrate how they can learn to recognize the character of the people they meet instead of what they look like."
Madeline Carroll, who stars as the instantly-smitten Juli Baker, knows exactly what Van Draanen means. "At the beginning, Juli doesn't really know what's on the inside of Bryce but she likes the outside. It takes time for her to start seeing what Bryce is truly like under the surface and she realizes that maybe she doesn't really like the inside so much."
Starring as Bryce Loski, the object of Juli's affection, Callan McAuliffe echoes this idea. "At first, Bryce thinks this girl is really out of control. He tries not to talk to her and keep away but she's really open about her feelings and doing crazy stuff like sniffing his hair. It's really awkward. He can't get her out of his head. But then, when he finally does, he realizes that maybe he liked having her in his head, and wants her back."
So what do you think? Have you read the book? Will you see the movie? Let me know in the Comments.
Photos and interviews courtesy of Warner Bros.